Extra paid leave entitlements offered by an employer can often ease the pressure of dealing with circumstances that may or may not be planned.
When you think about both paid and unpaid entitlements available to all employees, annual leave, sick leave, bereavement leave, parental leave, injury/compensation leave, and long service leave are a few that spring to mind.
Retail giant Coles, however, has thrown another entitlement into the ring.
Under a newly introduced policy, Coles will now offer ten days of paid gender reaffirmation leave to transgender and gender diverse staff.
Coles made the announcement earlier this week on Twitter.
David Brewster Chair of the Coles Pride Steering Committee said the policy is aimed at supporting its 900 plus transgender or gender diverse workers, and the LGBTQIA+ community.
“We need to have proper policy and education in this area so there is clear guidance around taking leave for this important transition in their life.”
Coles’ announcement has sparked a mixture of comments in response to its tweet.
While some congratulated Coles for following Woolworth’s lead and applauded the move as ‘fabulous,’ others did not agree.
Most commenters said they would no longer be shopping at Coles labelling the move ‘pitiful and embarrassing,’ adding that the new policy doesn’t do ‘anything to help anyone’ except ‘create a divide that didn’t need to be there.’
Shakes @shakesTheMan wrote:
“It’s been nice knowing you coles…now it’s time to move on…bye bye.”
James Herni @HerniBrah also wrote:
“Safeway 2 mins further is looking like a very good option.”
Coles announced its new policy following the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia, and will now join a list of other mega-retailers that have already made the move.
In May 2021 employees in the Woolworths, Big W and Endeavour groups across Australia and New Zealand implemented the same policy, which includes two weeks of paid leave in addition to an indefinite amount of unpaid leave designed to support transgender and gender diverse employees to attend medical appointments, undergo surgical procedures and attend counselling, amongst other things.
The policy was an adaptation of the 2017 version called the ‘Transgender Transitioning Policy.’
To back up its new ‘entitlement’ policy announcement, Coles has also officially partnered with the ‘Pride Cup of Australia,’ who according to their official homepage believes that ‘When you change sport, you change communities.”
Pride Cup Australia CEO James Lolicato welcomed Coles’ support of gender inclusivity and diversity in sport, confirming,
“We are so delighted that Coles is supporting our organisation because as part of our partnership, Coles will help Pride Cup Australia expand their reach to over 750 clubs annually across Australia, by 2025.”